Saralyn Richard, who is sharing her thoughts on the five best things about series, whether writing or reading them, is the author of the Detective Parrot series and thrillers Bad Blood Sisters, A Murder of Principal. You can find out more about her on her website, www.saralynrichard.com, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here.
When I wrote MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT, I was completely focused on telling a story about a group of old college friends who gather for an elegant birthday party weekend in the lush Brandywine Valley, a place so peaceful, you’d never expect a murder. One of the party guests turns up dead the next morning, and all the guests had motives to kill him. It wasn’t until I was halfway through writing the book that I realized its main character was the detective investigating the murder.
I never fathomed that Detective Parrott, an outsider in this community, where some of America’s wealthiest and most powerful elite reside, would develop such a following, or that a clamoring for more Detective Parrott books would ensue. But that’s what happened, and MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT was followed by A PALETTE FOR LOVE AND MURDER, and now the third mystery in the series, CRYSTAL BLUE MURDER.
While I love reading books in a series, I wasn’t sure about writing them. Would I tire of Detective Parrott and Brandywine Valley? Would I have trouble concocting new and different plots? And what about all those juicy ideas for books I’d been collecting in my head for years? Would I ever have the chance to work with those, too?
What I learned is that writing a series can be just as much fun as reading one. Here are five reasons:
BEST THING #5
All the big decisions about main characters’ appearance, background, beliefs, and attitudes have already been made. The readers and I know what we can expect from them when they are put into a new situation. In fact, my characters are so real, they continue to whisper in my ear.
BEST THING #4
The audience for the first book is roughly the same as the audience for the new books. Book club members who enjoyed #1 will be eager for #2 and #3. Interestingly, the process works backwards, as well. Someone who reads #3 first and loves it will go back to read the previous books. Clarity of target audience makes for a more enjoyable story, as well.
BEST THING #3
Concepts or themes that required a lot of research or learning in book 1 have become familiar by the time we get to sequels. Familiarity creates a comfort zone within the book. We understand the topics and like deepening that understanding.
BEST THING #2
The better the author grasps the culture of the setting, the better the reader will grow to understand it. The authenticity of the various elements within the story grows with each book.
BEST THING #1
When I finish a book I love, I hate saying goodbye to the characters, whom I’ve also come to appreciate and even befriend. With a series, I can stay with the characters, watch them learn and grow, worry over their challenges, and celebrate their victories. By the time we read several books about them, we know them inside and out. We know how they are like us and how they are different. The next book in the series is a visit with a dear friend.
Do you feel the same way about reading a series? What would you add to this list?